Miss Universe and actress Lara Dutta who debuted in Bollywood with the film Andaaz had been away from the limelight since her marriage to tennis star Mahesh Bhupathi in 2011. But the young mother recently starred in the comedy Welcome to New York and her next outing is as a judge for the upcoming TV reality show High Fever Dance Ka Naya Teva. Lara opens up about her career, daughter Saira and the pressures of being a part of the entertainment industry.
A balancing act
I’ve always maintained that my daughter is my number one priority. We strive to strike a balance at home. One of us will always be at home for our daughter. I enjoy being a mother and leave my daughter behind only if the assignment is worth it. It is usually when Mahesh is at home that I go out for work. When it comes to my work, I choose films for the right reasons. It is an organic process. Kuch achcha aye toh hi mein ghar se bahr niklungi, na?
‘Not a strict mother’
I am not a strict mother but I become one when it is needed. As parents, we need to let our children enjoy and correct them only when it’s required. Life becomes easy when you share an understanding with your child. I am a good mom (laughs).
The pressure to excel
I believe children should be taught things in a healthy way, competition being one of them. Saira’s first few birthdays were celebrated on Australian grounds, where her father was competing. When she takes part in activities in school, she comes back and says ‘Mom, participating is more important than winning’. But when it comes to sports, she says, ‘Mom, winning is also important’. I always go with her to support.
A born performer
Saira possesses all my qualities, she’s a born performer. She does not need any encouragement. She has been on the grounds and has also seen me perform. Let’s see what she chooses. Right now, she loves playing tennis with Mahesh. Par wo bolte hai na, ghar ki murgi dal barabar.
On the paparazzi menace
It is natural for parents to protect their children. The paparazzi clicks pictures of our daughter because she is the child of Mahesh and Lara. Is there a need to glorify her just because she’s our child? As an adult if she has achieved something, I can understand the attention. But otherwise what message are we sending out?
After my pregnancy, slowly I took to gymming, yoga, etc. But I did everything systematically. After dropping Saira to school, I rush to the gym or to my yoga class. I work out five times a week. It’s not easy, as on some days I feel like rushing back home and crawling under the blanket.
Unafraid of ageing
I’ve never felt the need to go under the knife. I’m 40 and not frightened of ageing. Can you see any wrinkles on my face? But medicine has advanced so much and these days going under the knife is no longer dangerous. I feel if a woman wishes to change her looks, then it is her personal choice.
A family woman
My upcoming dance show is based on a unique concept. The jodis are different — bhabi-nand, grandfather-father, etc. Since I am a family woman, this show suits me. My family takes holidays together and my sister-in-law and I go shopping. We all have fun with each other.